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NFL Game Pass: The 2015, 2016 seasons

ANOTHER IN A SERIES OF STORIES OFFERING SUGGESTIONS TO STEELERS FANS ABOUT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF FREE NFL GAME PASS.

The NFL will be offering complimentary access to NFL Game Pass to provide fans the opportunity to relive games and moments from seasons past.

NFL Game Pass offers an extensive library of football programming for fans, including access to regular season and postseason games; to previous years of NFL Films' series such as Hard Knocks and A Football Life; and exclusive NFL Game Pass Film Sessions with some of the league's star players and coaches.

To sign up for the complimentary access to NFL Game Pass, fans need to create an account on the web at NFL.com/GamePass, or via the NFL app across mobile and connected TV devices.

Today's suggestions for viewing past games are from the Steelers' 2015 and 2016 seasons:

OCT. 12, 2015: STEELERS 24, CHARGERS 20
A knee injury to Ben Roethlisberger during a Week 3 win in St. Louis meant the Steelers were going to be without their franchise quarterback for a few weeks, and so the team went into "manufacturing wins" mode. A three-point loss in overtime to the Ravens on a Thursday night in Pittsburgh had dropped the Steelers to 2-2, which made this visit to San Diego somewhat critical if they were going to keep their heads above water as they awaited Roethlisberger's return. The Steelers would get hammered in the battle of statistics in San Diego, but they kept themselves in the game with a couple of big plays – a 70-yard pick-six by Antwon Blake and a 72-yard touchdown pass from Mike Vick to Markus Wheaton. Then it all came down to the game's final possession, with the Steelers needing to drive 80 yards in the final three minutes. Vick might have been just a shadow of his former self by 2015, but he made two big plays on this possession: a 24-yard run to convert a third-and-6 and give the Steelers a first down at the Chargers 17-yard line, and then a 16-yard strike to Heath Miller to move the ball to the 1-yard line. With five seconds left, Coach Mike Tomlin went for the victory instead of overtime by putting the ball in Le'Veon Bell's hands. In the Wildcat formation.

OCT. 20, 2015: STEELERS 34, BRONCOS 27
The 10-3 Broncos arrived at Heinz Field with the best defense in the NFL as part of a team that would end the season with a victory in the Super Bowl, but the Steelers shredded that heralded defense and raised their own record to 9-5. Ben Roethlisberger completed 40-of-55 passes (72.7 percent) for 380 yards, with three touchdowns, two interceptions, and a rating of 94.5. The Broncos were totally incapable of covering Antonio Brown, who finished with 16 catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns, and he was supported by Martavis Bryant's 10 catches for 87 yards, and Markus Wheaton's six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. For the defense, Lawrence Timmons and Cam Heyward had sacks, and Ryan Shazier had an interception.

JAN. 9, 2016: WILD CARD ROUND – STEELERS 18, BENGALS 16
Vontaze Burfict cheap-shotted Antonio Brown out of the game and temporarily sidelined Ben Roethlisberger when he kneed him in the right shoulder, but the Bengals couldn't stay out of their own way down the stretch. This game is worth watching for no other reason than the way it embodies Coach Mike Tomlin's "next man up" philosophy. As an example, the Steelers played without Le'Veon Bell but found a way to roll up 167 yards rushing. There was Roethlisberger coming off the bench after being injured and leading the game-deciding drive despite being in obvious pain. And this was the game when Ryan Shazier stamped himself as a dynamic defensive playmaker when he finished with 13 tackles, including two for loss, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery; and when his team absolutely, positively had to have a takeaway, Shazier delivered, which set up Chris Boswell's game-deciding field goal with 14 seconds left.

DEC. 12, 2016: STEELERS 27, BILLS 20
This was a roller-coaster regular season for the Steelers, but when they visited Buffalo in December, they were a team on the rise. After a 4-1 start, the Steelers had lost four in a row to fall to 4-5, but they would win their next seven to end the regular season at 11-5 and as AFC North Division champions. This win in Buffalo was the fourth of that seven-game streak, and it could be sub-titled, The Le'Veon Bell Show. On a day when the wind-chill was 18-degrees and a steady snow covered the turf, Bell rushed for 236 yards on 38 carries (6.2 average) and scored three rushing touchdowns, to along with four catches for 62 more yards. On a day when the Steelers had 460 yards of total net offense, Bell himself accounted for 298. On defense, Ryan Shazier had eight tackles, a sack, and a pass defensed; Bud Dupree had 2.5 sacks, and Artie Burns had an interception.

DEC. 25, 2016: STEELERS 31, RAVENS 27
It was a rare Christmas spent at Heinz Field, and it turned into a tremendous holiday treat for fans who chose to spend the day with 66,276 of their closest friends. A 20-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Grimble gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead, but by the time Justin Tucker kicked a red zone field goal with 14 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter the Ravens had built a 20-10 lead. Then came the fourth quarter, and at different times over the next 14 minutes, Le'Veon Bell, Ben Roethlisberger, and Antonio Brown did things that would send the Ravens back to Baltimore with coal in their stockings. Bell, who finished the game with 122 yards rushing on 20 carries, scored one touchdown on a 7-yard run and another on a 7-yard reception in those final 14 minutes. Then with 78 seconds left and the Steelers needing a touchdown to win, Roethlisberger drove the Steelers 75 yards by completing 8-of-10 with the only two incompletions being spikes to stop the clock, and then Brown capped the day with that 4-yard Immaculate Extension touchdown as time expired.

JAN. 8, 2017: WILD CARD ROUND – STEELERS 30, DOLPHINS 12
The Steelers avenged a regular season loss in dominant fashion by using their star power on offense plus a defense that recorded five sacks, three takeaways, and allowed only 52 yards rushing, to make the Dolphins a one-and-done in the playoffs. Le'Veon Bell rushed for 167 yards on 29 carries (5.8 average) and scored two touchdowns; Ben Roethlisberger completed 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) for 197 yards, with two touchdowns, two interceptions, and a rating of 105.3; and Antonio Brown had five catches for 124 yards and opened the game's scoring with touchdowns of 50 and 62 yards. On defense, Jay Ajayi, who had rushed for 204 yards on 25 carries and scored twice in Miami's regular season victory, was held to 33 yards on 16 carries, while Ryan Shazier's interception and fumble recoveries by Stephon Tuitt and L.T. Walton accounted for the three takeaways.

JAN. 15, 2017: DIVISIONAL ROUND – STEELERS 18, CHIEFS 16
The Steelers dominated this game in every statistical category except one, and their failing in that one area is why the outcome was as close as it was. Le'Veon Bell continued his remarkable run through these playoffs with 170 yards on 30 carries (5.7 average); Ben Roethlisberger completed 72.7 percent of his passes; Antonio Brown averaged 18.0 yards on his six receptions; and the Steelers only punted once. But because the Steelers were 0-for-4 in the red zone, and 0-for-1 in goal-to-go situations, it was Chris Boswell who had to come to the rescue with a perfect 6-for-6 night kicking field goals. Ryan Shazier had another interception, which upped his career total at that point to three takeaways in five postseason games. After a Kansas City touchdown and a successful two-point conversion made it 18-16 with 2:43 remaining, the Steelers iced the outcome when Roethlisberger completed a 7-yard pass to Brown to convert a third-and-3 from the Pittsburgh 12-yard line.
NEXT: The 2017 and 2018 seasons

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